OGDEN, Utah – Senior guard Dylan Royer (right) finished with a team-leading eight points during his final game as a Mustang, but the Cal Poly men's basketball program – playing its first postseason game in 19 Division I seasons – was eliminated from the CollegeInsider.com Tournament by Weber State 85-43 during round of 32 action on Wednesday evening inside the Dee Events Center.
Freshman forward Zach Gordon added a career-high eight points for Cal Poly, which trailed wire-to-wire during its first postseason appearance since the 1986 NCAA Division II Tournament West Regional. Junior forward Chris Eversley grabbed a team-high five rebounds, but Cal Poly (18-14) – bidding to match the program record for victories at the Division I level – allowed Weber State to shoot 60.0 (33-for-55) percent from the floor and was outrebounded 38-29.
Weber State (27-6), Big Sky Conference regular season and tournament runner-up, advanced to meet a yet-to-be-determined opponent during the March 21-23 second round.
Keyed by successive three-pointers from guards Davion Berry and Scott Bamforth, Weber State sprinted to an 8-0 lead inside the opening two minutes. Limited to one field goal inside the opening six minutes, Cal Poly – after conceding a further 10-2 run – eventually found itself trailing 18-4 with 13 minutes left in the opening half.
Through Gordon – who had already reached his career high during the opening nine minutes – Cal Poly closed its deficit to 18-10. However, the Wildcats – backboned by consecutive three-pointers from Bamforth – responded with a 14-2 run to go up 32-12 seven minutes before the break.
The Mustangs, who conceded a 67.9 (19-for-28) percent field goal mark during the first half that ranked as their highest of the season, trailed 45-18 at intermission.
Capped by a three-pointer from Royer, Cal Poly opened the second half with a 9-5 run to close the gap the gap to 50-27 with 15 minutes remaining. The Wildcats, however, answered with a 7-2 run to maintain their dominant lead.
Cal Poly, which suffered its worst defeat since falling at Wisconsin 90-42 on Dec. 16, 2009, failed to close within 25 points of Weber State the remainder of the evening.
Despite Wednesday's defeat, Cal Poly still enjoyed the finest regular season in program history. In finishing third in the Big West standings with a 12-6 mark, Cal Poly established program records for Big West victories and Big West winning percentage (.667). Cal Poly, which finished 13-1 inside the Mott Athletics Center during the regular season, also set Division I program records for home victories, fewest home losses and home winning percentage (.929).
The Mustangs, who reached the semifinals of the Big West Conference Tournament for the second successive season, closed head coach Joe Callero's fourth year by winning nine of their final 12 games.